Mine Rescue Continues
Rescuers are making slow progress in their bid to reach a trapped Idaho silver miner who has been out of contact since a cave-in Friday a mile below ground. In the last 12 hours, Hecla Mining workers placed timber supports in an additional four feet of tunnel inside the Lucky Friday mine. They’re trying to reach 30-year mining veteran Larry Marek. While one remote digger is inside the mine, rescue crews said yesterday they are waiting on an electrical component to arrive before they can use a larger-capacity digger that can also be run remotely. Marek, the trapped miner, is from the town of Pinehurst, which is also the hometown of Tim Bush, another miner who was killed last June by a rock fall at the Galena Mine. Mullan resident Ryan Richey says the whole town is praying for a miracle, the odds of which seem to be decreasing by the hour. Mining in the Gem State is big business. In 2010, Idaho’s large mining companies were responsible for more than $857 million in economic impact in the state. The Idaho Geological Survey estimates that minerals worth $917 million were mined in Idaho in 2009, which was the last year figures were available. The Idaho Mining Association says there were more than 4,000 people employed in mining and mineral processing statewide in 2010.